AAdvantage Aviator Silver vs Red: Which Has Better Perks?

American Airlines offers two credit cards that reward frequent fliers and come with a myriad of perks. It can be hard to know which AA credit card is best for you and your travel needs. Take a look at the benefits and cons of each card and find out which is best for your travel plans.

Free Checked Bags According to the Department of Transportation, airlines made $3.5 billion in baggage fees alone in 2014. It is no secret that checked bags can add-on a huge expense to your travel fees. Both of the AA credit cards come with free checked bag perks.

The Aviator Red card allows for a free checked bag for domestic American Airline flights for you and up to four traveling companions on your reservation. The Aviator Silver allows a free bag for you and up to eight traveling companions on your reservation.

Boarding Privileges

The AAdvantage Aviator Red allows you and up to four people traveling with you to board with Group 1 on domestic AA flights. The Aviator Silver allows this same perk for you and up to eight people traveling with you.

Free Global Entry Application

One unique benefit of the Aviator Silver is a free global entry application fee. Just pay for the $100 Global Entry application fee with your card, and you will automatically receive a $100 statement credit 2-3 weeks after your transaction.

25% Discount

Both the Aviator Red and Silver offer a 25% discount that can be used for in-flight food, beverages and headset purchases on American Airlines operated flights.

$0 Foreign Transaction Fees

Don’t get weighed down by the usual foreign transaction fees that can occur when you travel abroad. Both the Aviator Red and Silver card come with zero foreign transaction fees, making this a great card to travel abroad with.

Reward Points – Which Card Is Better?

The AAdvantage Aviator Silver card offers triple points for every $1 you spend when you use your card on eligible American Airlines purchases, double points for every $1 spent on hotel and car rentals, and one point for every $1 spent on other purchases.

The Aviator Red does not offer triple points, but it does earn double points for American Airline purchases and single points for all other purchases.

Both cards allow you to earn 10% of your redeemed miles back. Therefore, if you were to redeem 10,000 miles on a vacation, you would get 1,000 miles back to use again. You can earn up to 10,000 miles back each calendar year.

Fees – How Much Is Each Card Going to Cost Me?

The AAdvantage Aviator Red card has an annual fee of $89, while the Aviator Silver’s annual fee is $195. Keep in mind that the Aviator Silver does waive the global entry application fee, which costs $100.

Which Card Is Best?

To find out which card is best for you, you have to know how much you currently travel and how much you plan to travel. For the occasional traveler, the AAdvantage Aviator Red MasterCard will save you money in the long run with free checked bags and double points on AA flights.

For individuals who travel a lot, the AAdvantage Aviator Silver World Elite MasterCard is best. Don’t be discouraged by the high annual fee. The $195 fee is quite small compared to the benefit the card has. The card will pay for itself if you cash in on the benefits.

Besides the waived global entry application fee, the AAdvantage Aviator Silver comes with these unique benefits:

  • Elite Miles: Earn an extra 5,000 elite-qualifying miles for every $20,000 you spend annually
  • Companion Tickets: Earn a companion certificate good for up to 2 guests at $99 each after your account anniversary of spending $30,000
  • Better Elite Status Coming: In 2017, your elite benefits will increase even more with more reward points, complimentary flight upgrades, and two free checked bags

While both of American Airlines credit cards are great for travelers, the AAdvantage Aviator Silver World Elite MasterCard can benefit frequent travelers more.

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